Hollywood Stars Who Threatened to Quit the Biz

Brad Pitt is the latest Hollywood star to threaten to leave the spotlight and has given a three-year timetable to make his exit. The actor — fresh off some stellar reviews for his role in Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life — wants to adopt more of a producer’s role. “I am really enjoying the producing side and development of stories and putting those pieces together. Getting stories to the plate that might have had a tougher times otherwise,” he recently told Australia’s 60 Minutes. Pitt’s already found his place in the producer’s chair, working behind-the-scenes on Malick’s movie and past efforts like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, as well as the upcoming World War Z and Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave. It’s hard to imagine a Hollywood without the likable actor. If he does follow through on his word, we hope he’ll still make an appearance every so often. History proves, however, that the acting bug is a pesky one and most screen stars renege on their promises to quit for good. Click past the break for a history of other actors that wanted to say goodbye.

Angelina Jolie

Just last year, Angelina Jolie told Vanity Fair that she wasn’t far from leaving acting behind for good.

“It’s not the most important thing in my life. Acting helped me as I was growing up. It helped me learn about myself, helped me travel, helped me understand life, express myself, all those wonderful things, so I’m very, very grateful, it’s a fun job. It’s a luxury. Look, I’m at work today in the middle of Venice. But I don’t think I’ll do it much longer.”

The Mr. & Mrs. Smith actress has been talking for years about cutting back on her schedule so she can spend time with her six children and hubby Brad Pitt (looks like he’ll be around more soon … ). She told the BBC in 2008, “I’m ready to do a few things now and fade away and get ready to be a grandma one day … I won’t work again probably for another year, so maybe it’ll be once a year, then maybe it’ll be once every three years.” It seems as though The Changeling star has already put the beginnings of that plan into motion, judging by her upcoming filmography — but it also buys her some time to change her mind.

Family life and her involvement with humanitarian work sounds like a more fulfilling path to travel, which we applaud, but we’re curious to see if the actress will continue to step behind the camera like she did for the upcoming In the Land of Blood and Honey. A recent emotionally intense trailer for the movie — about the relationship between a Muslim woman and a Serbian man during the Bosnian War — shows the beginnings of what could be a promising directorial career. Whether the call to family wins out remains to be seen.